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article imageQ&A: 5 steps to simplifying product info management Special

By Tim Sandle     Sep 12, 2019 in Business
Unified product information is crucial to providing the streamlined, consistent omnichannel interactions required in today’s competitive B2B landscape, as Dietmar Rietsch, CEO of Pimcore explains.
For many managers product information can seem overwhelming, and managing it can seem like an even more daunting task. According to a recent review, 80 percent of companies say they do not feel confident in their product data. This is likely because CIOs and CMOs alike are faced with various types and formats of product data, disbursed across geographies, languages and departments that all impact customer experience.
The solution is through unified product information management (PIM). This can be achieved with the right tools and strategic mindset, enterprises can be on their way to delivering a unified, reliable and accurate customer experience, according to Dietmar Rietsch, CEO of Pimcore.
Rietsch explains to Digital Journal readers there are five simple steps organizations can take to get their product information to a place where it’s organized and available for departments across the company to derive insight from.
Digital Journal: How important is unified product information for businesses?
Dietmar Rietsch: Organizations are selling their products and services online now more than ever before, and while this is great for business, it’s increasingly difficult for organizations to keep up. Consumers demand access to more channels than ever before. They want to shop via their mobile phones, desktops and sometimes even through voice devices. Because of this, organizations need to ensure that product information is consistent and accurate across each of these platforms, which can be really difficult to manage.
Given the breadth of options to shop online grows larger each day, unified product information across each channel the organization sells on is incredibly important in retaining customers, and building trust and loyalty. If customers have an inconsistent experience between platforms, they’ll quickly turn to a competitor who can provide the seamless interactions they demand and have come to expect. Unified product information can be the differentiator between a loyal customer and lost business.
DJ: What are the main challenges with managing product data?
Rietsch: A primary challenge of managing product data is de-siloing and organizing it so organizations have a unified repository of content. For example, desktop experiences, mobile experiences and in-store experiences require different elements, given user behavior patterns. However, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent experience across each channel, especially if each channel is pulling content information from various data storage areas that aren’t talking to each other. Product data can easily become siloed or duplicated, making it hard for companies to create a holistic, personalized experience for each customer.
DJ: Do challenges increase for business operating across large territories?
Rietsch:Challenges increase for organizations operating across large territories, as product information requirements, including languages, measurements, classification standards and legal requirements, vary across country borders and even state lines. This makes it crucial for organizations to invest in a solution that centralizes data across channels and is agile enough to quickly adjust product content across each platform since ensuring product specs and regulatory information are constantly updated is essential. Failing to provide this information instantaneously not only harms business buyers who rely on accurate product information when making investments for their companies, but reduces the organization’s overall credibility.
In addition, organizations that have on-premise data storage systems across geographies can further struggle with siloed product information. These companies can face issues associated with migrating to more agile solutions like Cloud or open-source technology, which ultimately enable greater flexibility and agility. Companies that are operating in this antiquated way will have a very difficult time aggregating product data in one place and adapting their strategies quickly.
DJ: How can product information management be simplified?
Rietsch:The best way organizations can simplify product information management is by implementing a strong master data management strategy and aggregating information across channels, geographies and customers into one centralized location. Eliminating data silos helps organizations paint a clearer picture of the customer so that each experience can be informed by all the data that’s available and therefore, more personalized interactions can be delivered to each buyer. In addition, organizations must continually listen to their customers and elicit feedback so they can best determine gaps in product information and iterate on their strategies over time to improve customer experiences, no matter what channel they shop on.
DJ: Which types of technologies can assist with this?
Rietsch:Investing in a master data management (MDM) or product information management (PIM) solution is a great first step for organizations looking to get their product data up to speed. With a solution that aggregates all information into one centralized location, organizations can rely on technology to work behind the scenes and ensure data is clean, consistent, accurate and reliable.
Given that organizations and customer needs are constantly evolving, companies should look toward more agile solutions based on Cloud or open-source software when choosing a solutions provider. PIM and MDM solutions that are Cloud-based enable faster deployment, better scalability and minimal geographic confines, while open-source solutions don’t require vendor lock-in and enable greater interoperability, customizability and lower total cost-of-ownership.
While each type of solution presents its own benefits based on whatever it is organizations are looking for, both PIM and MDM solutions enable organizations to be more flexible and scale as business and buyer needs change. Organizations that don’t adapt in the digital age will ultimately fail, so ensuring the organization is choosing a provider that can change just as quickly is crucial.
DJ: How can organizations best approach managing product information?
Rietsch:Organizations must first acknowledge the importance of strong product information in improving customer experience. By approaching each iteration in digital strategy with a focus on consistent and accurate product data, organizations can better ensure they’re not only meeting the needs of their individual customers, but creating a personalized, relevant experience each and every time. Investing in solutions that help manage product information, like MDM and PIM software, will make it easier for organizations to focus on experience, rather than constantly evaluating whether or not product information is correct and up-to-speed.
With solutions working on the back end, organizations can focus their efforts on the customer and improving their experience. When the value of product information management is solidified and technology is in place, organizations can make it a top priority to maintain this level of information management and continue to evolve strategy as needs change. With this approach, businesses can ensure product information is consistently updated and meeting the needs of the organization and its customers at all times.
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